Tag Archives: Maurice Strong

Dirty Rotten Climate Scandals

Shakespeare’s monster, Caliban, dreamed of clouds opening to  show riches ready to drop upon him. Climate scientists don’t have to dream about it – honors, awards and cash prizes rain down in torrents. Other scientists try to help humanity, but while climate scientists may kid themselves and others that they share that goal, their practical intent is to raise energy costs and harm nations’ energy efficiency via renewables. While they posture as planet-savers in white coats, some of them pocket awards of half-million dollars, even a million, and notch up more career-enhancing medals than a North Korean general.

A couple of local prizes are the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science ($A250,000) for ex-President of the Australian Academy of Science Kurt Lambeck last October, and in January UNSW Professor John Church pocketed a $A320,000 half-share of the 400,000 Euro BBVA Prize.

Both have done science work of international repute and their reputations in their specialist fields are deservedly high. However, Lambeck is a long-standing smiter of “deniers” and Church propagates via the ABC such lurid scenarios as  this: “… if the world’s carbon emissions continue unmitigated, a threshold will be crossed which will lead to the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet. This, with melts from glaciers and ice in Antarctica will lead to a sea level rise in the order of seven metres.”

There are many mickey-mouse awards in Australia for climate science and I’d be amazed if any post-doc climate person hasn’t won a gong. It’s particularly obnoxious that even schoolkids are incited to compete for climate awards by regurgitating climate doomism.

On the global stage, my tally of warmist cash awards to US climate doomsayer Paul R. Ehrlich is about $US2.6 million. For the climate scare’s originator, ex-NASA scaremonger James Hansen, about $US2 million. These rewards are not for getting anything right – their doom deadlines have proven to be utter tripe.

If you’re a climate scientist you can blot your copybook horribly but the prizes keep coming. You might not have heard of California’s Dr Peter H. Gleick, but read on. He’s been creaming it with prizes lately, $US100,000 from Israel’s Boris Mints Institute in April for the “Strategic Global Challenge of Fresh Water” and the Carl Sagan Prize last year for “researchers who have contributed mightily to the public understanding and appreciation of science.”  He’s scored more than 30 honors and awards all-up including a $US500,000 MacArthur “Genius” award for 2003.

Nice work, Gleick, but you’re the same man who in 2012 raided e-documents from the minor sceptic thinktank Heartland Institute.  Its CEO Joe Bast said that Gleick “impersonated a board member of the Heartland Institute, stole his identity by creating a fake email address, and proceeded to use that fake email address to steal documents that were prepared for a board meeting. He read those documents, concluded that there was no smoking gun in them, and then forged a two-page memo.” Gleick denied forging the document. The forgery, among other fabrications, showed Heartland receiving  $US200,000 from the Koch brothers’ Foundation, when the reality was a mere $US25,000, and even that sum was actually for a health-care study.

Gleick confessed he committed the thefts because he believed Heartland was preventing a “rational debate” on global warming, even though he had refused a Heartland invitation to a fee-paid after-dinner debate shortly before he stole the documents.  Gleick said

“in a serious lapse of my own professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received … materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name…I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues…My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists .., and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case. I offer my personal apologies to all those affected.”

As for Heartland being “well-funded”, its budget that year was $US4.4 million, of which maybe a third went on climate work, funding one conference, a blog and half a dozen climate reports. That compares with, say, WWF’s current budget in the US of $US230 million (Heartland’s, $US6 million), or the Australian Conservation Foundation’s current $A14 million.

The ironies about the much-honored Gleick didn’t stop there.  In 2011 he was founding chairman of a science ethics committee of the 60,000-member American Geophysical Union (AGU) and he immediately resigned membership when outed by Heartland. AGU president Mike McPhaden issued a toe-curling statement. The global community of earth and space scientists, he said, had

witnessed the shocking fall from grace of an accomplished AGU member who betrayed the principles of scientific integrity. In doing so he compromised AGU’s credibility as a scientific society, weakened the public’s trust in scientists, and produced fresh fuel for the unproductive and seemingly endless ideological firestorm surrounding the reality of the Earth’s changing climate.

 His transgression … is a tragedy that requires us to stop and reflect on what we value as scientists and how we want to be perceived by the public… It is the responsibility of every scientist to safeguard that trust.

This has been one of the most trying times for me as president of AGU… How different it is than celebrating the news of a new discovery … These rare and sad occasions remind us that our actions reverberate through a global scientific community and that we must remain committed as individuals and as a society to the highest standards of scientific integrity in the pursuit of our goals.

Within three weeks of Gleick’s confession, I kid you not, water tech company Xylem awarded him a “Water Hero” award. Thereafter he won a Lifetime Achievement Award from a  Silicon Valley Water Group (2013), was honoured by the Guardian newspaper in 2014 as a world top-ten water guru, and in 2015 he received the Leadership and Achievement Award from the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. The same year he received an Environmental Education Award from the Bay Institute. The major Carl Sagan and BMI Prizes followed in 2018 and 2019. Transgressions by warmist scientists are soon forgotten and readily forgiven.

While the Gleick case is one of horror, other climate-award material goes into the comedy file. The Climategate emails exposed two of the climate world’s top “experts”, Phil Jones and Mike Mann, horse-trading for new honors for themselves, via reciprocal recommendations. Jones, at the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, ran the HADCRUT4 global temperature data series underpinning the IPCC warming scare. He managed to literally lose raw data (failure to back-up) and hid incriminating emails subject to FOI demands.[1] Michael Mann authored the infamous  “Hockey Stick” paper used as a logo by the 2001 IPCC report as proving current warming is CO2-caused and unprecedented in the past 1000 years. Mann’s paper also managed to ‘disappear’ the Medieval warming[2] and the 300-year Little Ice Age to 1850. Mann’s sceptic foe, Mark Steyn, published an entire 320-page book, A Disgrace to the Profession comprising rejections of Mann’s findings, not by sceptics but by orthodox climate scientists. [3] 

Here are two climateers at work. (emails from 4/12/2007). Mann to Jones:

By the way, I am still looking into nominating you for an American Geophysical Union award; I’ve been told that the Ewing medal wouldn’t be the right one. Let me know if you have any particular options you’d like me to investigate…

Jones selects his own award:

As for the American Geophysical Union—just getting one of their Fellowships would be fine.

Mann then lets Jones know that he (Mann) himself happens to lack a Fellowship of the AGU and adds in brackets, “(Wink)to inspire Jones to do something about it. (pp105, 118).

The matey honors system at the AGU continues to this day. The selection committee last year for the AGU’s annual $US25,000 Climate Communication Prize (won by Mann last year) included prominent warmists Katharine Hayhoe, Stefan Rahmstorf, Richard Somerville and Kevin Trenberth. Recipients included the same Katharine Hayhoe (2014), Stefan Rahmstorf (2017), Richard Somerville (2015)  and  Kevin Trenberth (2013). A network clearly operates.  Winners Gavin Schmidt (2011), Mann (2018) and Rahmstorf (2017) jointly contribute to their realclimate.org blog. The AGU seems aware of incestuousness and has these unusual guidelinesfor the prize-winner selection:

Nominators and potential nominees…are urged to restrain from contacting members of their respective award selection committee while the AGU nomination and selection process is in progress…Persistent or frequent contact on topics related to the award nomination could potentially be viewed as an attempt to influence…

In the big global league, climate bureaucrat Christiana “Tinkerbell”Figueres, who oversaw the 2015 Paris pseudo-agreement from her UN perch, staggers under the weight of honors. They include the  Shackleton Medal, the Grand Medal of the City of Paris, the Legion of Honor, the German Great Cross of Merit, the Guardian Medal of Honor, the 2015 Hero of El Pais award, the Global Thinker Award, Four Freedoms Award and the Solar Champion Award from the woke folk of California. Quite a haul considering she still can’t distinguish between weather and climate. She achieved perpetual quotability with this ripper from  February 2015, in an official UN press release:

This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.

A champagne socialist from the top end of town in Costa Rica, she views a halt to growth in the West with equanimity: “Industrialised countries must stop growing — that’s fine. But developing countries must continue to grow their economy in order to bring their people out of poverty…”

Paul R. Ehrlich, now 87, has been showered with lucrative prizes. He has spent the past 50 years making horrific predictions about planetary and human doom. None of these have remotely been fulfilled, such as his 1969 prediction of disastrous global famine by 1975, requiring compulsory birth control via sterilising agents in food and water.

As a close-to-my-home example, he gave an address at Perth’s Murdoch University on October 2, 1985, concluding that unless Western countries went into wealth-sharing with the Third World, there would be lethal consequences for civilisation such that “the handful of human beings that survive the resultant collapse may, if they are lucky, be able to eke out a livelihood hunting and gathering.” He warned that by 2000, we could have a billion people perishing from hunger, with those famines leading in turn to a thermonuclear war that “could extinguish civilisation”. He continues to this day to be sought out by the media for yet more doomsday mayhem.

Ehrlich big-money prizes for ecological brilliance have included

# 1990: MacArthur Fellows “Genius Grant”, currently $US625,000. At the time the award range was $US155,000 to $US600,000. Ehrlich would have been at the high end.

# 1990: Sweden’s Crafoord (OK) Prize, currently $US745,000. He shared the award with biologist E.O.Wilson. As a guesstimate, $US200,000-plus at the time.

# 1993: Heinz Foundation Award, $US250,000

# 1993; The Volvo Environmental Prize. Currently $US170,000.

# 1998: Tyler Prize, $US200,000.

# 1998: Heineken Prize, $US200,000

# 1999: Asahi Glass’s Blue Planet Prize, 50 million yen (about $US420,000 at the time).

# 2009: Ramon Margalef Prize, 80,000 Euros (about $US110,000 at the time).

# 2013: BBVA Frontiers Award, 400,000 Euros (about $US530,000 at the time).

Total, about $US2.6m ($A3.75m).

James Hansen is known as the father of the CO2/global warming  campaign. He produced, concurrently with Syukuro Manabe,  the first crude computer models of C02 warming. The successor models despite decades of ‘refinements’ continue to significantly exaggerate actual warming.[4]  Hansen’s cash awards total about $US1.5m, including $US800,000 from Taiwan’s Tang Foundation last year. The Tang  citation read

Undaunted by the gravity of high government and the powerful doubts of business, this former NASA climate scientist attended a government hearing in 1988 … His brave, farsighted testimony before congress has since been known as the Hansen Hearing.

The reality was that the 1988 hearing was stage-managed by his pal and Democrat senator Tim Wirth. Wirth timed it for the predicted hottest summer day in Washington, and he also sabotaged the building’s air conditioning to ensure everyone would be sweating for the TV cameras.

Hansen while at NASA in 2001 accepted a $US250,000 award from Theresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democrat luminary John Kerry. In 2004 Hansen endorsed John Kerry as presidential candidate, a doubly contentious act as he was still a government NASA director. Hansen at NASA  also admitted in a 2003  issue of Natural Science that the use of “extreme scenarios” to dramatize climate change “may have been appropriate at one time” to drive the public’s attention to the issue. He’s referred to coal trains as “death trains” (annoying Holocaust survivors) and was arrested twice at climate demonstrations.
Among his windfalls:

# 2001: Heinz Award: $US250,000

#2007: Dan David Prize: $US330,000

# 2008: PNC Bank Common Wealth Award: $US50,000

# 2010: Sophie Prize: $US100,000

# 2012: Stephen Schneider Award: $US10,000

# 2016: BBVA Award:  $US450,000

# 2018: Taiwan’s Tang Prize. $US800,000.

Total $US1.99m.

Climate and environment prizes, honors and awards have flowed to those who are not merely catastrophists but million-dollar fraudsters. Canada’s Maurice Strong, for instance, built some of his huge wealth from stockmarket insider deals and oil developments. He was the godfather of the global environment from when he organised the 1972 Stockholm Environment Conference. He was founder and executive director of the UN Environmental Program which joined forces with the World Meteorological Organisation to create the IPCC. He chaired the 1992 Rio summit and openly advocated for world governance under the UN, financed by a 0.5 per cent tax on global finance to raise $US1.5 trillion a year.

In his 1999 autobiography, Strong predicted that in 2031 nation states will implode, with a breakdown of international order, food and energy scarcity, more climate deaths than from WW1 and WW2, and Americans dying like flies from heat because there is no electricity for air conditioners. Global  population falls to the level of 2001, “a consequence, yes, of death and destruction – but in the end a glimmer of hope for the future of our species and its potential for regeneration,” he wrote.[5]

In 2005 the FBI, investigating the Iraq “Oil for Food” program’s prolific corruption, turned up a 1997 cheque to Strong for $US998,000 from a corrupt  South Korean businessman who later proved to be a bagman for Saddam Hussein. Strong in 1997 was working for UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, and had organised the UN’s Kyoto climate treaty that same year. When the cheque came to light, Strong lit out for Beijing (China has no extradition treaty with the US) and lived out his days there, still honoured as an honorary professor at three Chinese universities. He said later, “I didn’t just run away to China, I already had an apartment here.”

In 2003, just two years before the cheque scandal went public, the US National Academy of Sciences gave Strong its highest honor, its Public Welfare Medal, for “extraordinary use of science for the public good”. This was its first-ever Medal award to a non-US citizen. “Very few individuals have contributed so much to the path toward a sane and sensible future for world society,” the Academy said. “He is an idealist who is truly a citizen of the world.”

He was “very special guest of honor” at the 2012 Rio second climate summit. When he died in 2015, the esteem continued with Canada’s governor-general attending his funeral. No attempt was ever made to prosecute Strong over the cheque.

Strong’s 50 or more honors (apart from his 52 honorary doctorates) included Commander of the Golden Ark (Netherlands), Order of the Southern Cross (Brazil), Order of the Polar Star (Sweden) and Companion of the Order of Canada. In his Beijing era he got a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Cataloguing all the climate prize stuff going on would involve an essay the size of the Encyclopaedia Britannia. I need to wash my dog so I’ll stop here. To all past and future climate prize winners, my sincere congratulations.

Tony Thomas’s new book, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60sis available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here


[1] HADCRUT4 is still riddled with errors, as Melbourne’s John McLean demonstrated in his Ph.D. thesis last year: “The HadCRUT4 data, and any reports or claims based on it, do not form a credible basis for government policy on climate or for international agreements about supposed causes of climate change.”

[2] Mann, ClimateGate email (4/6/03): I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2000 years, rather than the usual 1000 years, addresses a good earlier point that Jonathan Overpeck made … that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “Medieval Warm Period”, even if we don’t yet have data available that far back.

[3] Mann two months later (31/7/03) refers to his own data as “dirty laundry” to be closely guarded from examination. He emails a colleague:  “I’m providing these [data] for your own personal use, since you’re a trusted colleague. So please don’t pass this along to others without checking with me first. This is the sort of ‘dirty laundry’ one doesn’t want to fall into the hands of those who might potentially try to distort things.”

[4] IPCC AR5:  “… an analysis of the full suite of CMIP5 historical simulations [computer models]   reveals that 111 out of 114 realisations show a [temperature] trend over 1998–2012 that is higher than the entire HadCRUT4 trend [actual temperatures] ensemble. This difference between simulated and observed trends could be caused by some combination of (a) internal climate variability, (b) missing or incorrect radiative forcing, and (c) model response error.” [chapter 9, text box 9.2, page 769]

[5] Strong, M.: Where on Earth Are We Going? Texere, 2001, p21-22.

  • en passant

    I believe! I believe! Omm! Omm!
    In the Post-Popper/Feynman science belief, no matter how stupid trumps facts and your lying eyes every time. Get with Greta and the Klimate Kult Kids (KKK) or the Australian Musicologist from Graz will send you to a Denier Death Camp.
    Woke up!
    What a pathetic world we live in where people exist whose sole function is to daily commit fraud for money and rewards.

  • rod.stuart

    A part of the saga that is relatively unknown is the background in which Maurice Strong was born and raised.
    Following the Russian Revolution and WWI, movements condoning Communism were rampant in many regions in Canada. Strong’s parents were deeply involved, as much of the attraction of the ideology stemmed from the fact that many in Western Canada considered themselves victims.
    The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was one of the most famous and influential strikes in Canadian history. For six weeks, May 15 to June 26, more than 30,000 strikers brought economic activity to a standstill in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which at the time was Canada’s third largest city. Strong’s parents were involved in the organisation of this event as thick as thieves.
    They no doubt had a considerable influence on Strong’s subsequent development.

  • ianl

    The HARRY READ_ME file from Climategate is phenomenal in its’ description of the frustration of a Harry Harris who incautiously accepted the task of “cleaning up” the HADCRUT4 database. The indecipherable mess he found and describes is awesome in its’ full awfulness.
    The Aus database comes in for special slanging from Harry.
    Harry’s diatribe is the essential reason I know our informing data prior to the 1979 satellite deployment cannot be improved from the weak thing it is. It is hopeless in its’ corruption.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    The “Harry Read Me” file documents a CRU climatologist/programmer’s efforts to update 11,000 files of important climate data between 2006 and 2009. He admits that much of it is utterly worthless. Some of his comments (page number in parentheses):
    – “Am I the first person to attempt to get the CRU databases in working order?!!” (47)
    – “Cobar Airport AWS (data from an Australian weather station) cannot start in 1962, it didn’t open until 1993!” (71)
    – “What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah — there is no ’supposed,’ I can make it up. So I have : – )” (98)
    – “You can’t imagine what this has cost me — to actually allow the operator to assign false WMO (World Meteorological Organization) codes!! But what else is there in such situations? Especially when dealing with a ‘Master’ database of dubious provenance …”

    Virtual data:data created by computer. See confirmation bias, counterfactual world, evidence, in silico.

  • en passant

    I can feel my blood beginning to boil …
    Must be climate data at work

UNlimited Corruption

The United Nations is dedicated to the notion that men and women of good will can do much to promote peace. Alas, something must have been garbled in translation, as the global body’s legions of grafters and grifters keep their focus on pocketing a piece of the action

“To dismantle corruption’s high walls, I urge every nation to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Corruption. Its ground breaking measure have made important inroads, but there is much more to do.”
— UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

un hqIn 2003 the United Nations declared that December 9 would be “International Anti-Corruption” Day. The global body’s celebrations this year will be muted. The   2013-14  president of the UN General Assembly, John Ashe, is now accused by US prosecutors of  successfully soliciting   bribes of some $US1.3m from Chinese tycoons and understating his income by  the same amount. Free after posting $US1million bail on the tax charges, he denies wrong-doing.

Ashe can’t possibly be guilty! His priority is saving the planet from CO2 emissions, not taking bribesLook what he says on his UN website by way of “summing up his philosophy”:

Guided by a passion for sustainable development, Mr. Ashe has been in the forefront of international efforts to address the adverse effects of climate change and the fight to eradicate poverty… We only have the planet we live on, and if we are to leave it in a reasonable state for the next generation, the quest for a safer, cleaner, and more equitable world is one that should consume us all.  

Some innocents are  still starry-eyed about saving the planet from CO2 hell. They want  the UN’s minions and members to start the job in the Paris, where the world’s warmists will convene in December, the latest confab in the long series of global parleys intended to mandate expensive energy for rich and poor alike. They also hope that First World taxpayers will  pony  up $US100 billion a year as a climate-compensatory present for the Third-World’s kleptocrats.

These Paris-bound carbonphobics might profitably ponder the allegations against ex-UN President Ashe. He’s  been a standard-bearer in the UN climate campaign since way back in 1995. He represented the Group of Latin and American States (GRULAC) as vice-president of the first and fourth climate conferences (1995 and 1998), and in the next few years chaired the Subsidiary Bureau for Implementation (SBI) five times. In 2009  he chaired  the Kyoto Protocol Negotiating Track, preparing groundwork for the Copenhagen conference. His bright idea was First World emissions cuts in the near term of 25-40%, because that is what “the science is telling us”, he said. After Copenhagen’s debacle, he  chaired the Negotiating Track again in 2010,  preparing draft decisions for the Cancun round of talks, including “carbon market mechanisms”.

Give Ashe a platform (as distinct from the dock) and he’ll spout climate pieties till the methane-emitting cows come home. Listen to him as UN President at the Warsaw climate conference in 2013. (The date includes the period when, allegedly, he was taking bribes and fiddling his tax). He particularly urged the West towards “operationalizing and capitalizing post haste the [$US100b pa] Green Climate Fund.” 
He said,

If there is one constant than binds us all in this our UN global family, it is this: we are all committed to the overarching goal of improving the lives of our respective peoples...

… The time has come for you   to stand up and say: yes we will. Yes, we will do something. We will act. Not tomorrow, not next week, but right here. Today! Let me end with one heartfelt appeal: Do what needs to be done for 2015 – if not for yourself – then for the children both present and for those yet to come.

But when it came to donning the hair shirt and  shrinking his carbon footprint, Mr Ashe had other ideas. According to   prosecutors, this CO2-detesting Beau Brummel drew on his alleged bribes to spend $US59,000  on Hong Kong suits in 2013 and 2014. Heavens, were they made from cloth of gold?

To match his hand-tailored wardrobe, in 2014 he snapped up a pair of Rolex watches at roughly $US27,000 apiece (Full disclosure: I’m wearing a $US5 timepiece), and in late 2014 he took out a $US40,000 lease on a new BMW X5 (drive-away price, in Melbourne, about $A130,000). Then he bought a membership at a South Carolina country club for $US69,000, and solicited money to construct a $US30,000 basketball court at his home in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

See also: Gillard, the UN and Me

Also in 2014, $US200,000 was wired into his private bank account, allegedly for a Presidential foreign trip to spruik the Macau conference-centre project of fellow-arrestee Mr Ng Lap Seng. Prosecutors assert Ng bribed Ashe with $US500,000, while other Chinese tycoons are said to have slipped Ashe another $US800,000 to support  business deals in his native Antigua. He allegedly shared some of that moolah with a then-Prime Minister of Antigua.

Doubtless by coincidence, one of the country’s two prime mMinisters that year, Gaston Browne, signed a huge deal with Chinese investors. I make no suggestion this involved any wrong-doing. The deal was for an enormous tourist resort with five hotels, 1,300 holiday homes, a golf course, marina and casino. The full cost of the project—spread over ten years—would have been equivalent to almost two-thirds of the country’s GDP.

The Antigua project itself had a troubled history. A previous equivalent proposal involved Antigua’s biggest private employer, Sir Allen Stanford. Sadly, Stanford (now minus the ‘Sir’) is now doing 110 years in a Florida prison for a $US7b Ponzi fraud. He will not be a free man before he attains the age of 172.

UN President Ashe was succeeded as President by Sam Kutesa of Uganda, who retired a month ago. Remarkably,  Kutesa also has links to one of the five current Chinese accused, Sheri Yan, CEO of the Global Sustainability Foundation, of which Ashe is chairman. Kutesa’s wife, Edith, is a vice-chair of the foundation.

Meanwhile, the Paris talks loom.  While Ashe has been obliged to accessorize his sartorial style with an FBI  monitoring bracelet, the UN’s current heavies will take over the spouting of Ashe-esque urgings for trillion-dollar climate spending. Many people don’t realize that the Paris talks will be more of the same UN crowd wearing different hats.

  • The science, such as it is, is compiled by the IPCC but vetted and tweaked before release by the UN member states.
  • The IPCC reports to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which again is just the UN members. The UNFCCC gave the IPCC its 1992 question-begging missionto report on the risks of human-caused climate change.
  • This is a political not scientific mission, since the mission statement ignores the role of natural climate change, and simply wants backing for the assertion that there is a human-caused climate risk.

In fact there’s been no global warming for 18 years and 8 months — risky, human-caused or otherwise. The prosecutor has fertile fields for examination. Mr Ng generously donated $US1.5m to the UN last year partly to host a conference in Macau for developing countries. At the conference, various ambassadors including from Bangladesh and  Kenya, waxed lyrical about Mr Ng’s proposed UN centre there, and the conference endorsed the project. Who knows what the motives were? The UN is Corruption Central and secretary-general Ban Ki-moon suspects it.  In his own words, the allegations against Ashe “go to the heart of the integrity of the UN.”

US prosecutor Preet Bharara says his job is to determine if “corruption is business as usual at the United Nations…If proven, today’s charges will confirm that the cancer of corruption that plagues too many local and state governments infects the United Nations as well.”

The UN’s corruption gets media airtime only occasionally. This is partly because, for the Love Media,  UN = Sweetness & Light.  And also because UN finances, including its budget,  are shrouded in near-impenetrable secrecy.  The only watchdog appears to be US law enforcement agencies, whose clout derives from the UN’s New York residency and the US’s 25%  funding of the entire UN budget (guesstimated at $US30b plus).

One reporter, Claudia Rosett, has made it her business to probe into the UN murk, much as Canadian Donna Laframboise was able to lift the lid on the shenanigans inside the IPCC, starting with her 2011 Delinquent Teenager book on the IPCC. Rosett, of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, won an award in 2005 for her exposes of the oil-for-food UN scandal. She expounded on the Ashe bribery allegations last week in an interview with The Wall street Journal:

It is a classic case of UN corruption. The UN just lends itself to this — it invites it — it is built into the UN’s DNA. They have immunity. They operate with enormous secrecy. After years of promises to reform and to become more transparent, they still are not.

It is a collective, ultimately accountable to no one, it’s just 193 member states. Unless the US enforces things,  there is really no power to enforce anything. This alleged corruption is the tip of a very big iceberg.

The hallmark of this big  scam is promising to do ‘good works’. This becomes cover for all sorts of sleaze and corruption.

It doesn’t figure in your daily doings, it figures in the things coming down  like the big [Paris] climate conference, which will affect   your electricity bills most likely.

Rosett noted in passing that the Chinese tycoon defendant Ng had been a  frequent visitor to the Clinton-era White House in the 1990s. “An interesting connection — and  here he is, again charged with an alleged bribe conspiracy enlisting the help of the head of the UN General Assembly to promote their endeavors. The US taxpayers enlist so much money and trust, but that is leveraged to line the pockets of corrupt officials.”

UN bigwigs would rather pick up a black snake, it seems, than do anything serious to root out the rorts. When the   charges were laid against Ashe, Ban Ki-moon claimed through his spokeswomanthat the UN had no powers to investigate non-staff, so it was merely “studying the complaints”. Diplomats were the responsibility of their home countries, the spokeswoman said, as if the UN had no jurisdiction over use and mis-use of UN funds.

After a public outcry, Ban Ki-moon had second thoughts and announced  an internal inquiry into Ashe’s Sustainability Foundation (which also has two Australian officesvis-a-vis the UN and the Ng entities.  The Foundation is one of more than 8000 such bodies and NGOs affiliated with the UN, not to mention thousands more working with UN sub-groups. Some of these are well-known to aid workers as “suitcase” NGOs — the joke being that they are said to channel suitcases of cash to their executives and/or “grey” recipients.

Ashe is not the only UN climateer under a cloud. The “father” of the UN’s climate push is Canadian business man Maurice Strong, who organized the first “Earth Summit” in 1972. He became head of the UN Environmental Program (UNEP), which joined with the World Meteorological Association to found the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In 1992, he led the Rio Earth Summit as its secretary-general. At Rio, he suggested:

We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrialized civilization to collapse. Isn’t it our job to bring that about?

He then became sidekick to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Alas, the 2005 audits into the oil-for-food scandal turned up a 1997 cheque endorsed by Strong and made out to “M. Strong” for $US988,885. The cheque was issued by a Jordanian bank and came from South Korean business man Tongsun Park, later convicted in 2006 of trying to bribe UN officials.

Strong hastily resigned and, within days, had fled to Beijing, where he set up permanent residence. He said that  he just wanted to “sideline himself until the cloud was removed”. He claimed: “It just happened to coincide with the publicity surrounding my so-called nefarious activities. I had no involvement at all in oil-for-food … I just stayed out of it.”

Annan, near the end of his term at the UN,  delivered this touching tribute to Strong:

Looking back on our time together, we have shared many trials and tribulations and I am grateful that I had the benefit of your global vision and wise counsel on many critical issues… Your unwavering commitment to the environment, multilateralism and peaceful resolution of conflicts is especially appreciated.

In Beijing, Strong was a regime favorite because his cousin, Anne Louise Strong, had lived with Mao Tse-tung for two years. Then-Premier Chou En-Lai displayed his respect by arranging her 1970 funeral. Maurice Strong is now 86 and has disappeared from view.

The later  “Cash for Kim” scandal from 1997- 2007 involved the UN development Program (UNDP) giving Pyongyang access to sensitive security information, illicit transfers of dual-use US  technology and millions in cash without adequate controls. In effect, Kim Jong-Il was given UN pocket-money, while Kim was providing UNDP with counterfeit US $100 bills to store in the UNDP’s Pyongyang safe.

Russia for the past decade has stymied efforts to root out another form of UN corruption. This comes as no surprise, as Russia is the main beneficiary of $1 billion a year in rigged leasing contracts for aircraft and helicopters. Other key players will not confront Russia over this because they need Moscow’s cooperation on unrelated issues at the UN. In 2006, a Russian UN official pleaded guilty to US charges that he had been getting big bribes. A second Russian UN official was also convicted.

The biggest UN scandal of all was the $US13b oil-for-cash rorting, originally designed to keep humanitarian goods flowing to Saddam’s Iraq when that country was under UN sanctions. The   program was set up – allegedly by Russian intelligence operatives within the US — to deliver billions worth of cut-price oil vouchers to Saddam Hussein. Saddam distributed them as bribes, including to Russian entities who profited by $US476m and kicked back a share of the profits to Saddam. Russian beneficiaries included the son of the Russian ex-Ambassador to Iraq, an ex-PM of the Soviet era, the Russian President’s office director and the Communist Party. Even the Russian Orthodox Church saw a little graft tossed into its collection plates.

Another $US35 million from the program went to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers ($US15-25,000 each). Other beneficiaries included Al Qaeda, the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the chairman of the Qatari Horceracing Association. The UN official running that program was found  by a US inquiry to have been slung $US160,000 a year from beneficiaries. The official denied the charges, claiming that the flow of riches originated with a doting aunt in Cyprus, who had since died.

The UN   denied all requests by the US Government Accounting Office for access to the confidential internal audits. The GAO later reported that Saddam’s regime received a $US10 billion windfall from the oil-for-food program while Kofi Annan was UN  secretary-general. US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, said in his audit that Annan had not been found to be corrupt but “his behavior has not been exonerated by any stretch of the imagination”. Annan’s son, Kojo, was a marketing consultant to a Swiss-based inspection company Cotecna, which in 1998 won a $US4.8m contract under the Oil-for-Food program. Kojo successfully sued London’s Sunday Times for claiming he had confessed to wrongdoing.

Kofi Annan, in his foreward to The UN Convention Against Corruption, loftily promised that it

… will reaffirm the importance of core values such as honesty, respect for the rule of law, accountability and transparency in promoting development and making the world a better place for all.

Be assured that the United Nations Secretariat… will do whatever it can to support the efforts of States to eliminate the scourge of corruption from the face of the Earth.

The scams and scandals mentioned above merely scratch the surface of UN misdeeds. Not least is the impunity with which some members of  its peacekeeping forces – who total 100,000-plus – have engaged in rape, sex trafficking  and paedophilia, such as trading UN food rations with hungry children in return for sex. A UN Office of International Oversight Services report from May 2015 recorded 480 allegations of abuse between 2008 and 2013. Given the underreporting of such crimes, the number of victims is likely far higher. The so-called peacekeepers are accountable only to their countries of origin.

As an aside, The Age  reported in 2006 that, in early 2001, two Jordanian soldiers with the UN Peacekeeping Force in East Timor were evacuated home with injured penises after attempting intercourse with goats.

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)